Chinese president Xi Jinping travelled to South Africa recently on a state visit ahead of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (Focac) summit, which took place last weekend. South Africa and China have an excellent relationship, and the two presidents evaluated the progress achieved by the two countries since the conclusion of the five to 10 year strategic programme for co-operation adopted in December 2014, during a state visit by South African president Jacob Zuma to China.
In addition to looking at the progress of various current plans, 26 new agreements were signed at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, which will see the partnership between South Africa and their Chinese counterparts expanded. The agreements are estimated to be worth R94 billion.
We take a closer look at 12 of the agreements that have been signed between South Africa and China.
This agreement impacts citizens from South Africa and China who hold valid diplomatic or service passports, allowing them to enter into, exit from, transit through, or stay in either country for a period not exceeding 30 days to be exempt from the requirement of having to obtain a visa for that particular period. This applies to accredited diplomatic and consular staff, as well as members of their families.
This memorandum aims to expand exchanges in the fields of public health, health care delivery systems and biomedical sciences, as well as establish regular cooperation between health institutions in the two countries as a way of improving healthcare in China and South Africa. The scope of this memorandum is wide, allowing for both sides to benefit from the advances and abilities of the other through training and implementation of healthcare.
Eskom and the China Development Bank will conclude a loan agreement which will solidify China’s investment interests in South Africa as far as the energy sector is concerned, allowing electricity provider Eskom to fulfil infrastructure construction requirements thanks to the support of a loan facility which will be worth around $500 million.
This agreement between Eskom and the State Grid Corporation of China is geared at strengthening the current co-operation between South Africa and China in the energy sector. The agreement creates a legal framework for Eskom and the SGCC to make the most of a strategic relationship for the benefit of international business and to exchange experience in technical, managerial and financial fields.
It is not yet decided, but either Durban or East London will serve as a coastal city in South Africa that will see the construction of a vehicle manufacturing facilities that will benefit both parties. This will create jobs in South Africa and provide the Chinese with a stable base from which to manufacture and sell cars into South Africa and the rest of the continent.
This agreement will be put into place in order to assist in establishing and developing a long-term relationship between the TCTA and the China Communications Construction Company related to the funding and implementation of new projects focused on the water and sanitation sector in South Africa, which is particularly important considering the drought that has gripped South Africa this year.
The agreement between Standard Bank South Africa (SBSA) and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is a private sector agreement which will facilitate the raising of rand denominated funding for the ICBC, which will be made available to strengthen the various sectors of the South African economy, with a particular focus on power and infrastructure. This agreement alone is considered very valuable, as it could contribute up to $696 million over the next 5 years.
Yet again from a private sector perspective, South Africa’s Investec Bank and the China Export-Import Bank concluded a strategic agreement aimed at strengthening and enhancing trade and economic co-operation between the China and South Africa while promoting industrial development. The agreement provides a framework which is meant to allow for a fruitful long-term relationship between the two parties.
The objective of the agreement is to create co-operation and a consultation platform regarding the oceans economy between China and South Africa as far as the related organisations and enterprises are concerned. The agreement looks to boost co-operation in areas such as maritime transport; offshore petroleum resources development; ocean drilling platform building; aquaculture and processing of fish products; port development/construction and operation; skills development, and oceans environment conservation and management, amongst other concerns.
In recent years, the bilateral merchandise trade between South Africa and China has grown rapidly, but the statistics related to that growth are different from the perspectives of the South Africans and the Chinese. China’s data suggests a 28.4% growth, while South Africa has it at 20.4%. The discrepancies between the trade data of the two countries is being addressed by a joint working group on trade statistics analysis comprised of the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa, SARS and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
The Memorandum of Cooperation between the SA Revenue Service and the Great Administration of Customs (GAC) of China, intends to strengthen cooperation in the field of administrative assistance in customs matters with the focus of improving mutual understanding of the custom practices relating to the two parties. The agreement will allow for improvements regarding customs administration; technology application, the formulation and implementation of laws and regulations; capacity building; and trade statistics.
China and South Africa will work to promote the cultural and exchanges expertise and co-operation between the two countries while enhancing the understanding and friendship that the two parties share. The China Cultural Centre will be established in South Africa to provide quality and accessible cultural programmes for the public to enjoy and benefit from.
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